Flash floods in Selangor renew public anger over Malaysia election during rainy season

Caretaker Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin halted campaigning to head to the flood-hit area of Kampung Melayu Subang. PHOTO: COURTESY OF KHAIRY JAMALUDDIN

SHAH ALAM - Flash flooding was reported in several parts of the Malaysian state of Selangor following hours of heavy rain on Thursday afternoon.

Selangor Fire and Rescue Department director Norazam Khamis said fire engines and boats were immediately deployed to Meru, Klang, and the Taman Setia Warisan and Kampung Budiman neighbourhoods in state capital Shah Alam, after information on the deluge was received at around 4.15pm.

“The flash floods were believed to be due to heavy rain and clogged drains there.”

He said an elderly woman was rescued from her home in Kampung Budiman after the water level rose to 60cm.

“But the rain has since stopped so the water level is subsiding,” he added.

The Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department said it will deploy five helicopters and drones to monitor flood locations nationwide, as well as to facilitate the search and rescue process, especially in remote locations where disasters occur.

Director-general Mohammad Hamdan Wahid said on Thursday: “If there are signs of flooding, rising water levels and heavy rain, these air assets are ready to be utilised when needed. For drones, we have a base centre in Subang and each state has a drone service, while one helicopter is stationed in Borneo and four more in the Peninsula.”

For now, more than 6,000 temporary relief centres, supplied with essential items for flood victims, have been identified nationwide in preparation for possible floods during the north-east monsoon season, which began on Monday. The monsoon is predicted to last until March 2023.

The Drainage and Irrigation Department had on Wednesday warned of flash flooding in Pahang, Selangor, Johor and Sarawak, based on rainfall forecast information.

The recent days’ flash floods have reignited public anger over the caretaker government’s decision to hold the 15th General Election (GE15) on Nov 19 during the monsoon season.

Many took to social media to express their frustration and discontent, labelling politicians, especially from the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional, as selfish.

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“They (government) knew what was coming yet still want to hold GE15. So selfish, insensitive, inconsiderate and tone-deaf. Would you die from postponing the polls? No,” said customer service executive Fatima Fauzi on social media platform Facebook.

Twitter user @En_Amy said: “Flood season has started, the warning has been issued earlier but nobody wanted to listen. Great, go ahead and dissolve Parliament during this trying time. Campaign where, asset mobilisation where (sic)?”

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Caretaker Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob dissolved Parliament on Oct 10, drawing strong criticisms from the public and opposition leaders for holding an election during the monsoon season when they have up to September 2023 to do so.

Last year saw one of Malaysia’s worst floods in history, which resulted in 54 people killed and damage amounting to about RM6.5 billion (S$1.9 billion).

“It’s rainy season now and... (politicians are) busy with #GE15 campaign! This is not good for the (caretaker) government. You all just lost a few thousands of votes, I’m sure. Reap what you sow (sic),” said Twitter user @real_HishamT.

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On Thursday, caretaker Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin halted his campaigning activities for the Sungai Buloh parliamentary seat to head to the flood-hit area of Kampung Melayu Subang.

Selangor Chief Minister Amirudin Shari, from the Pakatan Harapan coalition, also cancelled his hustings in Gombak to coordinate aid for flood victims.

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